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From page to screen: 4 moments from the book that we saw in the 'She's Dating The Gangster' movie

KathNiel perfectly brought Athena and Kenji to life in "She's Dating the Gangster" 💙

Patricia Matalog
Patricia Matalog

8/23/2021 in News
From page to screen: 4 moments from the book that we saw in the 'She's Dating The Gangster' movie

Picture this: You're in 2014 and you learned that your favorite novel "She's Dating The Gangster" will be getting a movie adaptation starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.

For writer Bianca Bernardino, it was indeed a dream come true to have her idols (she's a "Got to Believe" fan!) portray the story she wrote and see her work on the big screen.

While the story had to be modified, some of the most iconic scenes from the book were retained in the movie. Below, the team recalled how they achieved these in the fourth episode of "Secret Movie Files":

When Kenji (Daniel) said "I can't breathe"

If you read the book, you know how the phrase "I can't breathe" is Kenji's (Daniel) unique way of saying "I love you" to each other. When Kathryn and Daniel gave life to this scene, even Bianca herself was amazed how they delivered it.

"Paano niya ba [ni Kenji] sasabihin 'yung 'I love you' or 'I love you too' kay Athena without actually saying the words 'I love you.' So nung nagsabi ng 'I love you,' doon nag-stop 'yung mundo niya...so dun niya nasabi yung 'I can’t breathe.' Tapos noong nakita ko na sinabi ni DJ kay Kath, hala, ang galing!" Bianca said.

Kenji as "Sexy Love"

"Sexy Love" was Athena's term of endearment for Kenji in the book, which was born when she had to cheer Kenji during a basketball game. Since they were still pretending that time, Athena had to do something to at least make their relationship believable — hence, the iconic "Go sexy! Go sexy! Go sexy, sexy love!" of Kathryn in the film.

Director Cathy Garcia-Molina also revealed that the cheering scene of Kathryn was something they made on the spot.

"'Yung sayaw ni Kathryn doon na cheer na ‘Go sexy, go sexy’ gawa-gawa lang namin ‘yun on the spot lang, ginaya lang ako ni Kathryn. Alam niyo naman si Kathryn din even that time aside from mahinhin, yung ma-sweet, masyadong sweet girl na hindi magsasayaw publicly. So talagang hiyang-hiya siya after... even after noon kapag pinapanood niya nagki-cringe siya sa sarili niya eh," Direk Cathy recalled.

When Kenji had his haircut

Both in the book and the film, Kenji getting a haircut was his way of saying that he has finally moved on from his first love Athena (Sofia Andres). This was such an essential scene they really wanted to include in the film.

"Alam naming sa mga fans na nagbasa, marker talaga siya kaya kailangan naming ilagay sa movie," Associate Producer Leo Garcia said.

The heart-wrenching breakup scene

Fans who have read the book would know how much they cried their hearts out when Kenji and Athena had to break up. Bianca said this was her favorite part from the book since there were so many emotions between the two.

While there were other heavy scenes in the movie, this particular scene was easily nailed by Kathryn and Daniel since they already had a grasp of their characters.

"We were on our last stretch of the movie so hindi na ganun kahirap sa kanila because they were already in character, mas naintindihan na nila si Athena at si Kenji. Mas madali ang eksenang ito kasi it's about letting go and I think letting go for the ones in love are not as hard to comprehend as 'yung naunang eksena," Direk Cathy said.

Watch the fourth episode here:

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